Early and Continuous Delivery

“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable work product.”

Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto

I realized this morning that I’ve been carrying on about deliverables for several days now without explaining why a guy who calls himself the Agile Attorney cares about them so much. The quote above is slightly modified from the (software-centric) 2000 Agile Manifesto, which has been preserved in amber on a delightfully late-1990s era website.

As I continue along my own learning journey, I find that I’m more of a pragamatist than an Agile dogmatist, but there is still a whole lot of wisdom captured in that original document. I’ve been working on a 5-day Agile Bootcamp course (more on that soon), part of which is a breakdown of the Agile Principles.

I’m going to borrow from my hazy recollection of statutory breakdown principles and call out the core elements of this statement, with some questions for you along the way:

(1) Is satisfying the customer your highest priority? What does it mean to satisfy a customer as opposed to serving them, or just doing work for them?

(2) I’ve been talking a lot lately about what “valuable work product” might mean from your client’s perspective; what conclusions have you drawn (or changes have you made) to present your work product in a way that communicates client value?

(3) What does it mean to have “early” delivery of valuable work product? What’s something you could deliver early in your engagement to help satisfy any of the five reasons why people hire lawyers?

(4) What is a reasonable cadence for a lawyer to claim they are engaged in “continuous” delivery of valuable work product?

If you have answers to any of these questions, contact me or drop a comment below and let me know what you think. Or, if this idea seems completely crazy to you within the context of your practice, I’d love to hear more about that too.

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